Part VI — Saints and madmen

Question: If any human being can so transform his consciousness as to identify with the Universal Consciousness, certainly this human being deserves to be revered. At the same time, you have madmen who go around posing as elevated beings. What then are the distinguishing marks between a saint and a madman?

Sri Chinmoy: Saints are intoxicated with the divine ecstasy. Great spiritual saints, when they attain their spiritual perfection are drinking ambrosial nectar. They are living in that delightful consciousness in which they feel that the world itself is holding the spiritual ocean of bliss. Some of them try to bring down that highest Delight, Ananda, from a very high plane where they have received it, and sometimes they find it difficult. When they find it difficult to touch the material plane carrying this Bliss, they may lose their inner balance and for a short time become forgetful of the physical consciousness. At that time they may not be able to function normally on the physical plane. A seeker may forget his name, for example, and others may say he is acting like a madman.

But an ordinary madman is mentally, vitally or physically dislocated. He never knows what he should do or what he should say or how he should act. He has permanently lost the connection between the physical world and his own existence on earth. So whenever he says or does something, there is no harmony with the Universal Consciousness. That is to say, he cannot project himself into the Universal Consciousness in which we are all abiding. All of us are living in the Universal Consciousness, although we may not be conscious of it. At the same time, we are not violating the rules of the Universal Consciousness. A madman is also unaware of the Universal Consciousness, but at the same time, he is violating the laws of the universe, the Universal Consciousness, owing to his ignorance.

As we have preconceived ideas, the madman too has preconceived ideas, but he cannot formulate his ideas as we formulate ours. We have got a brain; we know our mind. We know how one thought can follow another thought. In a madman’s case, it is not like that. All the thoughts and ideas of the higher and lower worlds come into him in a flash, and he loses all his inner and outer balance. The forces and the pressures of the other worlds enter into him and get a free channel in him to express themselves.

An ordinary madman will never open to the Light or the Truth or that which can save him, his life, his very existence on earth; whereas the God-intoxicated madman, who is the true saint, is mad with the divine Beauty, the divine Light, the divine Purity and all that is divine. He wants to possess and to be possessed by Divinity itself. This is the difference between an ordinary madman and a God-intoxicated saint.